In Hardeman's Tabernacle Sermons Volume II, there is a sermon on Instrumental Music In Worship. A great sermon. In 1950 my father gave me a set of Hardeman's Tabernacle Sermons, and in this volume he marked a number of things to be noted.
At the top of page 277 Foy E. Wallace, Jr. had written some observations, a few years earlier, and initialed his handwriting with "F.E.W.Jr." This is what he wrote: "But Hardeman has now contradicted himself on this argument in his stand on churches putting organizations in their budgets in the year of 1947. F.E.W.Jr."
We introduce this to emphasize principles of authority involved in the controversies over church supported institutions. The "stand" brother Hardeman made in the sermon, which drew my father's attention, is set forth in statements underlined and marked in father's handwriting with the word "Hear" inscribed several times in the margin. The underlined statements follow:
"Therefore, if the Bible does not specifically mention instruments of music under the authority of Christ Jesus, it follows that such is not a good work." (Page 276)
"Where is the passage in all the New Testament upon which you can put your finger and take the stand that here God furnishes and demands the use of an instrument in worship?" (Page 276)
"But someone says: 'Now Brother Hardeman, the Bible does not forbid it; and, therefore, we are at liberty to use it, and it is permissible.' Well, is that a safe principle friends? Just grant that every word of that is true; are you willing to subscribe to that statement — that whatever the word of God does not forbid in direct statement, that thing is acceptable? It would involve every man on earth in wonderful complications." (Page 276-277)
Brother Hardeman continued his remarks in this vein showing that with such an attitude, baby — baptizing, Catholic bead — counting, and Mormon polygamy could be defended. This line of argument he employs is of course a refutation of the attitude that if the Bible does not specifically forbid something by direct description we are free to do as we please.
But a good many brethren who accept Hardeman's line of reasoning against instrumental music in worship do not follow it with reference to other innovations. Neither would Hardeman apply it to institutionalism.
Brother Hardeman's insistence on church support for colleges and orphan homes moved Foy E. Wallace, Jr. to write on page 277 of the book: "But Hardeman has now contradicted himself on this argument in his stand on churches putting organizations in their budgets in this year of 1947. F.E.W.Jr."
This presentation is not meant to depreciate the memory of the renowned N.B. Hardeman, nor to arouse any adverse criticism of the esteemed elder — statesman Wallace, but rather to underscore underlying principles relative to institutionalism.
As we mentioned before many who give credence to the principle defended by brother Hardeman, abandon it to justify church supported institutions. They argue as does Gus Nichols in Action, April 1971, page 2. He contends that if we are "left the liberty to choose some way to carry out the command to do a certain 'thing' it follows that we are at liberty to choose our own way of carrying out the same generic command." He, we believe, would conclude that this principle would allow church support of institutions. If this principle would justify church financial grants to orphan homes and colleges why not church grants to a missionary society like the one that was introduced in the brotherhood in 1849?
I am certain that brother Nichols would not endorse such a "way" of doing things (the missionary society). He would find some good reasons why the missionary society would not fit into his principle. We believe we can use some of the same reasons to show why the church should not contribute financially to the operation of orphan homes and colleges. Even though orphan homes and colleges are not parallel in every way to the missionary society, they become parallel in essential features when they serve churches like the society served them. The institutions become "societies" like missionary society when they do for churches what the society did for them. This is a "deadly parallel" that has stood the test of argumentative scrutiny through at least 25 years of controversy.